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Heidi Fraser-Krauss, Director of Information Services


I joined the University in 2012 as the Head of IT Services, relocating from St Andrews University. In 2015, the Director of Information Services role became available, responsible for IT Services, the Library, and Archives. This was externally advertised, and despite strong competition I was successful and took up post in October 2015. In February 2016 I was invited to join the University Executive Board, this is the senior team with operational responsibility for the institution. Joining the Board has been a very positive experience, I’ve had a steep learning curve, but have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of participating in the strategic decision making that will help shape the future of the University.

I think my major contribution to the University has been to focus IT Services and the Library on providing services and facilities that are accessible and consistently meet the real needs of our students and academic staff.

In terms of equality, diversity and inclusion I feel we have made great progress focusing people’s minds on the issue, and having it clearly on the agenda of the whole institution. It’s important we continue on this journey and always challenge any instances of unconscious bias. I was recently awarded Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Year at Computing News’ Women in IT Excellence Awards and I’m hoping this will inspire more female support staff to realise their potential in IT Services.

Professor David K.Smith, Academic Lead on the 'Widening Participation Initiative', Chemistry


Professor Dave Smith: 1999 started as Lecturer; 2004 Senior Lecturer; 2006 Chair. Dave is an 'out' gay academic who was selected as one of the RSC's 175 Diverse Faces of Chemistry in 2014 and has won national awards for his teaching and research. In 2010, his husband, Sam, was listed for a lung transplant, which took place successfully in January 2011. In 2014, Dave and Sam adopted a little boy, at which point Dave took 6 weeks away from work, and in December 2014, Dave came back to work 80% time.

“The department was very supportive in helping me spend a full month away, in the middle of teaching, with effectively no notice. The department was fully supportive of this process and helped fund a postdoctoral researcher in my laboratory to assist with group management and my small group teaching responsibilities." Dave is Academic Lead on the 'Widening Participation Initiative' and a member of the University Teaching Committee.

Dave has given flagship lectures in the UK, Germany and the USA on the representation of LGBT scientists, a topic he has also written about in Chemistry World and discussed as part of his extensive YouTube outreach work.

Dave has been a Guest Speaker at a ‘Bring Your Whole Self to Work’ event at Procter and Gamble. “When delivering research lectures, or outreach talks to school students, I always talk about the inspiration behind our research. Much of our research addresses applications connected with my husband’s illness (cystic fibrosis followed by a lung transplant). We have been investigating gene delivery as a potential treatment for CF, new drugs for intervention during major surgery, and gels to direct and control tissue growth with a long term view towards growing replacement organs. By explaining our science within this context, the audience are engaged within my personal story, and I can instantly bring my ‘whole self’ into a room full of strangers. I have watched this approach have a remarkable impact on audiences and believe it is a hugely powerful means of LGBT+ advocacy. Furthermore, this approach to science has inspired both me and my team to do better research.”

Rowena Jacobs


I started my studies as a PhD student in 1998 at the University of York, supervised by staff in CHE. I then joined CHE as a full-time Research Fellow in 1999 and continued my PhD part-time working on various projects aligned with my research on performance measurement in healthcare. In 2002 I completed my PhD and was promoted in 2003. I was continually encouraged and supported to develop my skills, working on different projects, attending conferences and training courses and submitting applications for research grants in my area of interest, both as CI and as PI. My research interests evolved over time to focus on performance measurement in mental health services and with significant support from senior CHE staff in 2006 I was awarded an NIHR post-doctoral fellowship from the Department of Health to further develop my research in this field. In the same year I was promoted to Senior Research Fellow.

In 2008 I took my first career break for maternity leave and CHE was enormously supportive, keeping in touch with me whilst away and facilitating a smooth transition back into work. Prior to returning in 2009 I requested to work part-time and this was supported by CHE and I have worked part-time ever since. I took a second period of maternity leave in 2010, returning in 2011 and again benefitted from CHE’s supportive culture. I have profited from role models and mentors in the department throughout my career who have supported and encouraged my progress, supported investment in my career through leadership, development and skills training, and in 2014 I was promoted to personal Chair.

There is no doubt that having children changes one’s priorities and combining family life and a career can be complicated, particularly with no extended family nearby to offer support. My husband, who also works in STEMM (medicine), has much less flexible working arrangements than me. The ability to work part-time and flexibly has therefore enabled me to achieve a reasonable balance between work and home demands and while it is often challenging to combine a busy work life with the care of two young children, it is hard to imagine a more supportive environment than CHE in which to do this.

Pratibha Gai


Pratibha grew up in India, and was fascinated by science as a child. She was influenced by Marie Curie, her education, and her parents to study chemistry. She co-founded the interdisciplinary Nanocentre at the University and served as its founding Co-Director. She joined York from the USA where she held senior positions. Previously, she established and led the Catalysis Group at the University of Oxford after graduating with a PhD in experimental physics from the University of Cambridge.

Professor Gai studies dynamic atomic processes in reacting solids during chemical processes. Her research highlights include the development of new chemical processes and nanomaterials for use in a range of high technology applications, including catalysis, energy, healthcare, cleaner environment, chemicals, food coatings, and novel dynamic electron microscopies. In collaboration with E D Boyes she co-invented atomic resolution-environmental (scanning) transmission electron microscope (E(S)TEM) instrument to image gas-solid reactions at the atomic level, which is used globally. She has original publications and patents in several areas including, novel catalysts, coatings, superconductors and electronic ceramics.

She received the 2010 Gabor Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics, UK, and the L’Oréal-UNESCO International Women in Science Award as the 2013 Laureate for Europe (one female scientist’s research is selected from each continent), among other awards for her research. She was appointed a Dame (DBE) in the New Year 2018 Honours list for services to Chemical Sciences and Technology. Vice chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts said: “Pratibha is an outstanding academic who has contributed hugely to chemical sciences and technology over many years.

“She is an inspirational leader in her field and this honour is a wonderful acknowledgement of the impact her research has made in the world.”